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999: Britain From Above

Last updated on

October 9, 2019


    For the UK’s SAR bodies (Search and Rescue) drone technology is now non-negotiable. Drones are increasingly being used to support the public safety and first responder community by providing an essential aerial view.

    In a recent series by ITV ‘999: Britain from Above” episode two focuses on the Emergency Services and how drones are having a positive impact on operations throughout the country. The episode reveals how police forces are deploying drones to search for vulnerable missing people in impossible to reach places and how fire services are fighting blazes from the air.

    999: Britain From Above - Police with Drone


    999: Britain from Above: Norfolk police find missing man

    The episode goes through live case examples of drones having a significant impact on the result of real search and rescue operations. COPTRZ supply Norfolk police with drones for their police operations and in June 2019 the use of police drones saved a mans life.

    Peter Pugh, 75, became separated from friends during a walk and found himself stuck in thick marsh with water up to his armpits. Norfolk Police, a long-standing partner of COPTRZ, found him 21 hours later using a police drone. Peter cannot remember the rescue but his wife commented “The emergency services and technology saved his life”. Sgt Alex Bucher of Norfolk police added “There is no doubt that without the police drone we would not have been able to locate him in the time we did.”

    Read the full story here. 

     Using DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise for Search & Rescue

    We spoke to drone team lead, PC Sean Benson at West Yorkshire Police

    999: Britain From Above - Police with Drone

    How are drones impacting your operations at West Yorkshire Police?

    “West Yorkshire Police are currently employing different types of drone to assist in day to day Operational Activities.

    • The quick response drone (as we like to call it) is the Parrot Anafi thermal. A lightweight yet fast and resilient small drone perfect for those fast-moving and quick time deployments.
    • Our intermediate drone is an Elios Flyability. A collision tolerant close inspection drone which we use for searching small enclosed and difficult to reach places or those where it is too dangerous to send staff.

    This combination of tools allows us to support our officers on the ground with an array of policing activities. We do find ourselves mainly being requested to attend vulnerable and missing people, searching large open spaces, immediate search for wanted persons, scene containment, evidential photography, thermal imaging and pre-planned large scale events such football matches and carnivals. You may well have heard police drones at night or seen them close to events.

    In the last year here in WYP we have seen some terrific results from our drone team, locating vulnerable missing people, finding vital evidence and coordinating staff to bring about arrests of those who would otherwise have escaped.”

    PC Sean Benson, UAV Operations Manager & Chief Pilot 


    COPTRZ UAV Strategist for Public Safety

    “Drones and payloads for the emergency services are now an essential part of search and rescue operations around the world. The future of drones for SAR includes innovative software such as PiX4Dreact and a range of drones for different services whether that’s on-the-go lightweight drones such as the Parrot Anafi Thermal or larger drones such as the M200 series.

    On November 7th we’ll be holding the UK’s largest drone demonstration of commercial drones, I urge anyone wanting to invest in drones for S.A.R or wanting to upgrade their hardware to come along.”

    Sam Denniff, UAV Strategist – Public Safety Division

    Want to find out more about using drones in SAR?

    Speak to our UAV Strategists and find out which drones you should think about adding to your fleet. As well as specialist drones we also act as a training provider for emergency services throughout the UK. Contact us using the form below and we’d be happy to chat through your options.

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